Frequently, a prospective client comes to us and says, “I have a website, but I don’t seem to get any business from it.” While that can mean that the website would benefit from search engine optimization (SEO), it more frequently demonstrates a lack of understanding about a website’s role in the scheme of communications.
For most firms, a website serves as a point of validation. Once someone has already heard about you, they go to your website to see how “real” you are. If that is the case, does your site look like you are successful at what you do? Is it professional in a sense that serves you well? Do the copy and images compel people to want to buy your products or engage you for your services?
Please know that having a website, in and of itself, doesn’t really mean that you are advertising your services. Unless it is optimized to show up at the top of the search page, your prospective clients typically won’t find your firm when they type key words into a browser. If you have the resources, engaging a firm to help address search engine optimization issues may be very beneficial. SEO, if done correctly, is a process that occurs over time and will require a monthly commitment.
Frequently, you need to take other actions to drive clients to your website. Depending upon your resources, you could advertise strategically, send emails or direct mail to target audiences, or, if that is too costly, you can begin networking with businesses or prospective clients that are likely to want to do business with you. The most effective means to drive a broad group of people to your website is to advertise. However, advertising can be costly and unless handled carefully it can be difficult to establish whether you are achieving a real return on your investment.
Once someone finds your website, the following tips will help make your website more effective for you:
- First, make sure your site is as professional as possible. A homemade site frequently looks homemade and undermines your ability to do business. Clip art should be avoided and fonts should be chosen to convey a professional look.
- Steer clear of opening with videos that need to load. Most people don’t want to wait for slow-loading pages or videos. They will just move on.
- Include testimonials, if you can, that show how your products or services have helped someone else. Testimonials are the strongest form of advertising other than word-of-mouth. So if you have testimonials, don’t bury them. Make them prominent and use them throughout your site to give your offerings even more power.
- Keep your web content fresh by adding a blog or newsletter that frequently updates your site so that search engines find new, relevant information that begins to build your site as an expert site. That will help raise your site in the rankings and help people find your offerings more quickly.
- Include your contact information on each page, so that if someone searches and finds what they are seeking on a page in your site, they can immediately contact you for information. We live in a one-click society now, so you don’t want anyone having to hunt around your site to reach you.
With these basics, your site will begin to work for you. A professional-looking site, with compelling copy, testimonials, and relevant contact information at hand, will make it easier for your prospective customer to decide and act.